War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0618 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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all they can get from the charitable and all they can take front he defenseless, in many cases wantonly destroying stock and other property. The presence of a large army in any country cannot but entail loss upon the inhabitants; it is necessary at time sot remove fences, pass through fields on the march, and occupy them for encampments. I battles the destruction of property is also unavoidable and often very great; but, in addition to losses to individuals inseparable from a state of war, I regret to say that much unnecessary damage is done by the troops both while marching and in camp. It is impossible as the army is now organized to prevent these acts by orders. When such orders are published they are either imperfectly executed or wholly disregarded. I have the honor to inclose to you a copy of a letter written on the 7th instant, which may not have reached you, containing some suggestions as to the means of preventing these and punishing the perpetrator. I again respectfully invite your attention to what I have said in that letter. Some effectual means of repressing these outrages should be promptly adopted, as they are disgraceful to the army and injurious to our cause. If the suggestions of that letter cannot be carried into effect, or you do nod advise some other course to be pursued, a slight mitigation of the evil might be secured by sending to me Lieutenant-Colonel Harvie to act as inspector-general of the army, in which capacity he was acting while the army was near Richmond, where he was left because his services were much needed. With him I should like to have Captain Latham as assistant. I do not expect, with the assistance of these officers, to accomplish much, as I am satisfied that the situation of affairs requires an officer of rank, standing, and reputation to act as inspector=general, with sufficient assistants, and some tribunal to accompany the army, with power to inflict prompt and adequate punishment.

I am, with the highest respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,



September 22, 1862.


The depredations committed by this army, its daily diminution by straggling, and the loss of arms thrown aside as too burdensome by stragglers, make it necessary for preservation itself, aside from considerations of disgrace and injury to our cause arising form such outrages committed upon our citizens, that greater efforts be made by our officers to correct this growing evil. It is feared that roll-calls are neglected, and officers of companies and regiments are ignorant of the true condition of their commands, and are unable to account properly for absentees. To correct this, the general commanding wishes the prescribed roll-calls to be made at reveille, each man appearing under arms, in order that the company commander may know that they have not been thrown aside, and wherever a man is found without his arms and equipments that he be refurnished; those lost to be immediately charged against him on the muster-rolls. As half a quire of foolscap paper will last one year for a morning report, containing, as it does, thirty-two lines, and it is the labor of half an hour to rule the columns of a morning report for one month, the morning report will be made every morning to the regimental or battalion commander and sent through brigade to division commanders. Inspections of arms and equipments will be made at least weekly, and company officers will see that the arms are properly cleaned and in serviceable condition, and learn daily that cartridge-boxes